Manny Pacquiao is set to face Keith Thurman on July 20 in a FOX pay-per-view main event from Las Vegas, and the two met up for the first time at today’s press conference to announce the event.
Thurman (29-0, 22 KO) said he’s going to retire Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO) in the fight, but Pacquiao shrugged that off.
“I’ve been in this sport more than two decades,” he said. “No one can intimidate me.”
Asked about Thurman specifically, Pacquiao said that he feels Thurman underestimated Josesito Lopez back in January, when the WBA “super world” titleholder looked pretty rusty after nearly two years off, winning a decision and escaping some real trouble against the veteran Lopez.
“Keith Thurman’s style is different, it’s really different,” Pacquiao said. “It’s similar to Miguel Cotto or Ricky Hatton, but faster than Ricky Hatton.” He added that Thurman is dangerous, and that he won’t take him lightly.
Pacquiao said we aren’t going to see anything new with him in July, just further proof that he’s still a top fighter at 147.
“Nothing different with Manny Pacquiao,” he said. “Just to maintain the speed, power, the dedication to the sport, and focus on training. I want to prove that at the age of 40, Manny Pacquiao can still fight.”
He said that if he wins, he will target the other titleholders at 147, and said it’s “possible” that he could even fight WBO titleholder Terence Crawford, a Top Rank fighter who is currently frozen out by PBC having the rest of the division’s top names.
Since Pacquiao can’t do any of these things without someone asking about Floyd Mayweather and the rematch Pacquiao has wanted for four years, he was asked if he believes beating Thurman might entice Floyd to fight him once more.
“I don’t think so. He would be scared more,” Pacquiao laughed.
Pacquiao added that Freddie Roach will be involved in his camp for the Thurman bout, and that he expects to fight again at the end of 2019, which would make for three fights in the year. If that happens, it would be the first time since 2008 — when Manny beat Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz, and Oscar De La Hoya — that Pacquiao fought three times in a single calendar year.